The annual National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. this month presented a key opportunity for bicycle safety advocates to press Congressional leaders on the importance of investing in bicycle infrastructure and continued efforts to unify local, regional and national forces in furthering bike-related projects and programs.
Boston bike attorney Andrew Fischer was present and actively involved with a group of MASSBIKE representatives. The three-day conference concluded with a full day of lobbying. In addition to meeting with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), Fischer and the team met with the staffers of Elizabeth Warren and Reps. Joe Kennedy III, Seth Moulton, Michael Capuano and James McGovern. Primary goals included outlining critical concerns of the cycling community and advocating for peak priority in larger urban planning actions.
The two main takeaways from the Summit:
- A proliferation of dockless bike share businesses springing up in urban areas like Boston but also in gateway cities like Worcester, Springfield, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford and Fall River. There is a push toward extending greater accessibility and connectivity of cycling networks, particularly in law income areas, which are vastly underserved. (Fischer was struck by the data revealed on this front, allaying previous concerns these business models might undercut further expansion of traditional municipal dock-based bike share services.)
- At the time of the conference, the first week in March, federal funding for bike infrastructure appeared threatened, as part of the budget cuts for mass transit and transportation funding for big cities, particularly in the northeast and on the costs. We though we would need to work with our allies in the Massachusetts delegation to protect this funding, which remains essential in the fight to continue our campaign for safer streets in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth. However, bicycle infrastructure funding was included in the budget that passed two weeks after our return from Washington. This allows us to continue to advocate for improved bicycle infrastructure.